Historians at UNSW are uniquely global. We focus on imperial, colonial and transnational histories that rethink the grand narratives of the past and interrogate the way we understand our present. We research in regions across the world, including Africa, East and South-East Asia, Inner Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean, and the Pacific, all in conversation with Australian history. Our methodological expertise spans legal history, political history, environmental history, feminist history, history of science, cultural history, and more.

Historians at UNSW research and publish in four key areas:

● Comparative Imperial Histories

● Histories of Migration, Refugees, and Modern Diasporas

● Histories of East and South-East Asian Cultures

● Histories of Modern Gender

Historians at UNSW

  • Professor, History Ruth Balint
    Professor, History

    Ruth is a scholar of contemporary migration,  refugee history and 20th-century Australia. She supervises projects in migration history, histories of the family, and contemporary Jewish history.

    Scientia Professor of History Alison Bashford
    Scientia Professor of History

    Alison is a scholar of the history of science and medicine with interests in population and the environment. She supervises projects on the history of science and medicine, intellectual history.

    Associate Professor in German and European Studies Andrew Beattie
    Associate Professor in German and European Studies

    Andrew is a scholar of Germany, with particular interest in public memory and post-war reconstruction. He will supervise projects on all aspects of modern German history and postwar Europe.

    Associate Professor of History Saliha Belmessous
    Associate Professor of History

    Saliha is a historian of the law and politics of the empire. She supervises projects in global and imperial history, intellectual history, French and British colonisation in America and Africa.

    Professor of History David Blaazer
    Professor of History

    David is a historian of Britain and Ireland. He supervises projects on most aspects of modern British and Irish history and the history of money.

    Scientia Fellow  Emma Christopher
    Scientia Fellow

    Emma is a filmmaker and scholar of slavery and unfree labour and its aftermaths in Africa, Australia and the Caribbean. Emma supervises histories of slavery and forced migration.

    Associate Professor Nicholas Doumanis
    Associate Professor

    Nick is a scholar of Mediterranean history and the Greek diaspora. He will supervise projects on global history in any period, empires and state formation.

    Senior Lecturer Gregory Evon
    Senior Lecturer

    Greg is a historian of Korean premodern and early modern intellectual history focusing on literature and religion in the larger East Asian context. He supervises projects on Korea and  East Asia. 

     Lisa Ford

    Lisa is a legal historian of the British Empire, the early National United States, and settler colonialism. Lisa supervises projects in global and comparative history and colonial Australian history.

    Senior Lecturer (Modern European and Jewish History) Jan Lanicek
    Senior Lecturer (Modern European and Jewish History)

    Jan is a historian of the Holocaust and its aftermaths in Central Europe and Australia. He supervises projects on the Holocaust and twentieth-century Europe. 

    Professor Anne O'Brien

    Anne O’Brien a historian of poverty, welfare and philanthropy in colonial and twentieth-century Australia. Anne is not taking on supervisions at this time.

     Mina Roces

    Mina is a specialist on gender, in the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora as well as the history of dress and textiles in Southeast Asia from the twentieth century to the present. 

    Senior Lecturer, History and  Gender Studies Zora Simic
    Senior Lecturer, History and Gender Studies

    Zora is a historian of 20th century Australia, with a particular focus on gender, sexuality, feminism and migration. Zora will supervise projects in gender, feminist, social and migration history.

    Senior lecturer in Chinese and Asian studies  Pan Wang
    Senior lecturer in Chinese and Asian studies

    Pan is a scholar of love, marriage and family in China. She supervises projects on the recent history of gender, love, marriage and media in China and Chinese marriage migration.

    History and Asian Studies Joel Wing-Lun
    History and Asian Studies

    Joel’s research focuses on the impact of imperial expansion in southwest China from the seventeenth through the twentieth century. He will supervise projects in Chinese history.

  • Emeritus Professor of Modern Chinese History Louise Edwards
    Emeritus Professor of Modern Chinese History

    Louise Edwards is a historian of gender in modern China century

    Emeritus Professor John Gascoigne
    Emeritus Professor

    John Gascoigne is a historian of science in the British Empire

     John Ingleson

    John Ingleson is a historian of 20th century Indonesia labour and social history

    Emeritus Professor Grace Karskens
    Emeritus Professor

    Grace Karskens is a scholar of Australian colonial and cross-cultural history, Aboriginal history and environmental history

    Emeritus Professor of History & European Studies Martyn Lyons
    Emeritus Professor of History & European Studies

    Martyn Lyons is a scholar of French revolutionary and Napoleonic history, and the history of books, reading and writing in Europe and Australia

    Emeritus Professor David Miller
    Emeritus Professor

    David Miller is a historian of science and technology, 1750 to present

    Professor Nicolas Rasmussen

    Nicolas Rasmussen is a historian of life science and medicine

    Scientia Professor

    Ian Tyrrell is a historian of the nineteenth and early twentieth-century United States; and environmental history.

  • Laureate Postdoctoral Fellow, Laureate Centre for History and Population

History Conversations @ UNSW

  • During term-time, UNSW History hosts presentations by cutting edge scholars about their current research. These are usually held on a Tuesday at 12:30pm, AEST. All are welcome to attend. More details are available here.

  • This year, UNSW will host the Australian Historical Association (AHA) conference, the peak conference held annually by and for historians working in and/or about Australia. We celebrate forty years since UNSW hosted the first AHA conference in 1981. This year’s theme is Unfinished Business. The Uluru Statement, Black Lives Matter protests, toppled statues and the Whitlam Dismissal are just a few of many examples of history’s unfinished business in the contemporary world.

  • Here are some recent publications from our historians.

    Ruth Balint Destination Elsewhere: Displaced Persons and their Quest to Leave Postwar Europe (Cornell University Press, 2021).

    Andrew Beattie, Allied Internment Camps in Occupied Germany: Extrajudicial Detention in the Name of Denazification, 1945–1950 (Cambridge University Press, 2019).

    Emma Christopher, Freedom in White and Black: A Lost Story of the Illegal Slave Trade and Its Global Legacy (University of Minnesota Press, 2020).

    Lisa Ford, The King’s Peace: Law and Order in the British Empire (Harvard University Press, 2021).

    Jarrod Hore, Visions of Nature: How Landscape Photography Shaped Settler Colonialism (University of California Press, 2022).

    Grace Karskens, People of the River: Lost Worlds of Early Australia (Allen and Unwin, 2020).

    Mina Roces, The Filipino Migration Experience: Global Agents of Change (Cornell University Press, 2021) 

  • British Imperial Commissions of Inquiry.

    In the 1820s, Royal Commissions of Inquiry were dispatched to almost every colony in the British Empire to rethink imperial law and governance after the cataclysm of the Napoleonic Wars. This project explores the vast archives created by the Commissions with particular emphasis on how evidence was gathered and who got to have a say in imperial reform.

    The Laureate Centre for History & Population

    Launched in July 2021, this Centre asks how, where, and why population policies emerged over the 19th and 20th centuries, and what their present legacies are, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

    The New Earth Histories Research Program

    This project brings the history of geosciences and the history of select world cosmologies together. We aim to produce a fresh and cosmopolitan history of environmental sciences, analysing the significance of geological time and multiple cosmologies for global modernity itself. 

    Remembering Sydney’s post-war Greek neighbourhoods, 1949-1972

    During the height of the post-war immigration boom, Sydney’s metropolitan neighbourhoods played a key role in the reconstitution of migrant identities. Taking a cluster of these neighbourhoods as its case studies, this project will inscribe the memories of Greek-Australians into a history of post-war migration.

    A History of Domestic Violence in Australia 1850-2020

    The project aims to investigate similarities and differences in women's lived experiences of domestic violence across ethnic, cultural and class contexts; to historicise its cultural representations and their impacts; and to identify and assess policy and legal measures to constrain domestic violence.